New partnership set to boost marine awareness
West coast ferry operator CalMac has teamed up with 14 conservation bodies in a bid to better protect the environment it sails in.
The company's new Marine Awareness Programme outlines specific actions it will take to help passengers get the most from the environment they are travelling through and to better understand the wildlife in its area of operations.
Speaking at the launch of the Programme, CalMac's managing director, Robbie Drummond said:
'Knowledge is a major part of protecting the environment for future generations. By finding out what wild resources we have, we are in better position to take steps to help conserve them. Our commitment to the monitoring, education and information sharing activity outlined in this Programme will help ensure we continue to build knowledge about the seas we sail.'
'The marine environment we work in is among the most diverse in the world, supporting over 6,500 complex and 40,000 single cell species of plants and animals.
The new partners at the launch of the Marine Awareness Programme.
Our seas are among the richest in Europe for marine mammals. Scotland holds about 70% of Europe's population of grey seals and 35% of common seals along with numerous species of whales, dolphins and porpoises and seabirds.'
Actions outlined include using CalMac vessels to undertake marine biodiversity monitoring, passenger engagement and education to raise marine environment awareness with both visitors and locals and to facilitate better information sharing between conservation agencies.
CalMac's 14 partners are Scottish Natural Heritage, Marine Scotland, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, British Divers Marine Life Rescue, British Trust for Ornithology, Capturing Our Coast, Field Studies Council Millport,
Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, MARINElife, ORCA, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network
Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
'CalMac understands how important the environment we work in day to day is to our communities. The natural environment and the wildlife within it are central to attracting visitors and helping to grow the economies within the areas we serve.
'We want to help stimulate this economic growth wherever we can by delivering reliable services that people want to use. However, it crucial that we balance this with protecting the very environment that is the driver of this growth. Our new Marine Awareness Programme is a first step in this direction,' added Robbie.
CalMac's 33-strong fleet sails to 26 island and remote mainland destinations. Last year the company carried more than 5.3 million passengers and nearly 1.4 million vehicles.
There is more information and regular updates on the Marine Awareness Programme website.